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Feds to offer $114M in new money to provinces, cities for asylum seeker housing

A family, claiming to be from Columbia, is arrested by RCMP officers as they cross the border into Canada from the United States as asylum seekers on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 near Champlain, NY. The federal government is planning to spend an additional $114.7 million to compensate provinces and municipalities for temporary housing costs for asylum seekers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

OTTAWA — The federal government is planning to spend an additional $114.7 million to compensate provinces and municipalities for temporary housing costs for asylum seekers.

The money is part of $2.5 billion in new spending plans tabled late Monday as part of the government’s supplementary estimates.

The financial document says the influx of irregular migrants entering Canada has increased pressure on provinces to provide shelter and social services.

The $114.7 million in new funding will be used to compensate provinces and municipalities for temporary housing costs and to provide “federal interim lodging facilities” services to supplement the housing capacity that is currently available.

This money is in addition to $50 million the Trudeau government offered to Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba last summer to help with temporary housing costs for asylum seekers.

But it falls far short of the $200 million the Ontario government says it has spent on irregular migrants and the $300 million that Quebec estimates it has spent.

No breakdown has yet been offered on exactly how much each province or municipality will receive as part of this planned new spending, nor about how decisions will be made on what eligible costs will be covered.

The rest of the $2.5 billion in new spending in Monday’s supplementary estimates includes: $323.2 million for demand-driven services to veterans; $313.9 million for international military missions; $163.5 million to write off unrecoverable Canada student loans; $159 million for arctic and offshore patrol ships and $149.7 million to fund the government’s feminist international-assistance agenda.

 

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press